ACS DSTAR

Snohomish County has the first wide coverage DSTAR repeater system located in Granite Falls.  Like the other ACS repeaters, this system is open to the general amateur community when ACS is not activated. Unlike the other ACS repeaters, it is only available to users with DSTAR radios.  Although the DSTAR radios can operate FM, the repeater operates in DSTAR mode only. The Snohomish County EOC, DEM-10 and the two Granite Falls fire stations are equipped with DSTAR radios and can use this system.   The two portable kits stored at the EOC also contain DSTAR equipped radios.

The system went online in July 2009, was moved to the Granite Falls location in October, 2010, and will continue to be improved over time.  At this time, DV mode (voice and low speed data) is available on UHF at 440.325MHz but no gateway because there is no Internet available at this site (yet).  In May of 2012 a second repeater was added at DEM with full gateway functionality on 440.350MHz.  The DD mode (high speed data) was moved from Granite Falls and installed at DEM and is available at 1251.650MHz.  If you have a new radio and need your gateway access approved, after you register be sure to mail Scott n7ss at arrl.net.  The gateway has no notification mechanism to let us know you attempted to register.

The DV mode radio programming information is:

NR7SS B       440.325       +5.000    Granite Falls - No Gateway
NR7SS B       440.350       +5.000    DEM Everett - Gateway

Future Plans

Install the DSTAR Gateway at Granite Falls
The callsign on the Granite Falls system needs to be changed because DSTAR needs a unique address for each user and gateway system.  The gateway server is currently being configured but there is no Internet at the Granite Falls site (no wires at all).  There are two options for Internet at the site. SERS is looking at upgrading to a new microwave link with additional capacity which would allow us to use the older one for Internet.  There is also a possibility of installing HAMWAN at the site.  

Connect Email and Chat via DRATS
DRATS is a piece of software that works on DSTAR, packet or directly on the Internet to provide chat, file transfer (including photos and forms), mapping and Winlink compatible email functionality.  It is possible for a radio somewhere in the coverage area to provide Internet access by running DRATS to provide email service.  This can be done easily at any time and is at least some improvement before the gateway is available.

Connect to Regional Reflector
The Federal Way team is currently working on a DSTAR reflector that acts like a conference bridge for DSTAR repeaters.  This would allow all gateway connected repeater systems to participate in a region-wide system.  It is an outstanding way to connect local coverage systems and sparse DSTAR users into a system that would have WWA-wide coverage.  If we had an emergency and needed the bandwidth, we could simply terminate our connection to the reflector and preserve the bandwidth for our operations.

What can you do?

We will be offering training on the new system in the coming months.  With just the EOC and DEM10 systems, we have some great capability to offer DEM and the SAR teams.  Adding other team members with DSTAR capability provides even more service to our coverage area.  If you’re considering a new radio, you may be interested in the additional features.  There are some links with additional information below.

You can install and run D-RATS via the Internet.  This provides a great way to get familiar with the software and connect to our Ratflector when it goes live.

https://nr7ss.dstargateway.org/  Register with the DSTAR gateway so your callsign is recognized on the worldwide network (also email n7ss at arrl.net to get approval)
http://www.dstarinfo.com DSTAR information and repeater listings
http://www.dstarusers.org Latest live DSTAR listings world-wide
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/northwest_dstar Northwest DSTAR information
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dstar_digital National DSTAR information
http://www.d-rats.com D-RATS Home Page